Islamabad: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani had a bilateral meeting here in Perth which the Australian Prime Minister invited Prime Minister Gilani to visit her country in 2012 along with delegation comprising businessmen, investors and agriculturists to enhance cooperation in the fields because Australia also considered development as an important component of counter-terrorism strategy, says a press release received here today from Perth.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan earlier invited the Australian Prime Minister to visit Pakistan and called upon that both the countries should enhance their cooperation in the field of agriculture, energy, education, infrastructure and health.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan appreciated Australian government’s assistance during the earthquake, last year’s floods and this year to the rain affected people, in the province of Sindh.
Prime Minister Gilani thanked the Australian government for providing this excellent opportunity to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. He said that soon after the democratic government came to office in 2008, the suspended membership of Pakistan was restored due to the restoration of democracy in the country.
The Prime Minister gave detailed account of Pakistan’s role in the war on terror in which about 35,000 people have been killed including 5000 troops and equal number of army men has been disabled.
The Prime Minister said that the war on terror has caused a colossal loss to country’s economy because the suicide bombings caused flight of capital and scaring away of investors despite the lucrative incentives offered by the government.
The Prime Minister said the government and the people of Pakistan are committed to fight out terrorism and its shining example is in the successful operation in Malakand and Swat. However, the military solution does not offer a sustainable resolution of the issue and the political process has to be initiated to bring peace on durable basis, the Prime Minister added.
The prime minister said poverty is the major root cause of terrorism and extremism; therefore it should be an important component of the counter-terrorism strategy.
The Prime Minister said that the dream of ROZs is yet to be materialised which has been hanging on for the last four five years. It has bearings to improve the quality of life of the people of FATA.
He further said that the initiative of the political reconciliation was earlier ridiculed by the American President Bush, but now his stance has been vindicated because the whole world is talking about political solution by bringing all factions into the mainstream.
The Prime Minister said he visited thrice Afghanistan and took along Army Chief and the DG ISI to meet the Afghan President with a view to give impetus to the process of reconciliation in a bid to find out a solution, reflective of the aspirations of the Afghan people.
The Prime Minister urged upon the international community to help Pakistan to enhance its capacity to fight the common enemy.
The Prime Minister said the solution of Afghanistan should not adversely affect Pakistan as was the case at the time of the Soviet withdrawal from the country , which left 3.5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and they are still there causing huge problem for Pakistan.
He said that about 45,000 Afghans daily cross the borders and it is impossible to identify who is terrorist or tourist. He said that the difficult terrain and porous borders between the two countries also creates all sorts of difficulties for the security forces to hunt down the terrorists.
The Prime Minister said that the trilateral meeting between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey in Istanbul is the manifestation of the respective countries commitment to seek out a political settlement of the problem which is critical for the peace and security of the whole region as well.
Prime Minister Gilani offered training facilities for the Afghan army, police and the civil administration in order to look after the security and the governance issues.
The Prime Minister of Australia said that her country strongly believed development as an effective counter-terrorism strategy to win the hearts and minds of the people. She assured that Australia will continue to help Pakistan and trade links will further strengthen in the days to come.
She further said that she understood the criticality of the political reconciliation, with which intertwined, stability, development and good governance in Afghanistan.
The Australian Prime Minister said that Pakistan and Afghanistan have had suffered a lot in the war against terror and her country would continue to help both the countries in the economic and political field to bring stability and prosperity in the region.
Earlier Prime Minister Gilani expressed his deepest condolences to the government and the bereaved families over the killing of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan yesterday.
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